Lancashire primary school with only one pupil to close down - before rising again

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A Lancashire primary school left with just one pupil is set to close this week after being deemed “educationally and financially unviable”.

Pinfold Primary School in Scarisbrick will close its gates for the final time on Friday (19th April).   However, it will not be long before the building is reverberating to the sound of children once again - and a lot more of them than it has been home to of late.

That is because the Pinfold Lane facility will reopen in September as a 'satellite site' for a special needs school seven miles away in Skelmersdale.

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The Pinfold Primary School building will reopen later this year as a 'satelite site' for Kingsbury Primary School, some seven miles away (image: Google)The Pinfold Primary School building will reopen later this year as a 'satelite site' for Kingsbury Primary School, some seven miles away (image: Google)
The Pinfold Primary School building will reopen later this year as a 'satelite site' for Kingsbury Primary School, some seven miles away (image: Google) | Google

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet agreed to the switch late last week after completion of the statutory process that has to be followed before a school can be shut down.

The soon-to-be former Pinfold Primary will provide 20 additional places for Kingsbury Primary School from the start of the next academic year.    Kingsbury caters for 2-11-year-old pupils with generic learning difficulties - and is rated by Ofsted as 'outstanding'.

Pinfold had capacity for 51 pupils, but there was only one child on the school roll as of January - and that youngster was also due to depart.

During the first stage of a public consultation into the proposed closure, eight out of nine respondents expressed their sadness at the school’s demise - but acknowledged what several referred to as the “reality” that the establishment was no longer financially viable with such low pupil numbers. Concerns were raised during the consultation as to whether enough had been done to market the West Lancashire school locally, but three other primaries within a two-and-a-half-mile radius also have significant spare capacity.

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The school’s governing body had asked the county council to consider the long-term future of Pinfold Primary in September 2023.   It had been unable to set a balanced budget for 2023-24 financial year and ended up with a £21,000 deficit - which was due to almost triple by 2025/26 - in spite of the school having the minimal level of staff considered “practicable”, according to a cabinet report.

The document also stated that the creation of a satellite site for Kingsbury Primary would meet “the growing need” for special school places in the area.

Cabinet member for education and skills Jayne Rear said that “minimal work” would be needed to make the Pinfold building fit for the Kingsbury pupils set to arrive in the autumn - although the cabinet has previously agreed a £200,000 budget if necessary.

However, the Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that far less than that amount is likely to be needed, with works expected to be mostly decorative, along with the creation of a new drop-off point in part of the outdoor play area.

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